Is import and selling of any sex toy illegal in India?
I have seen varied responses in this forum. My question arises due to the following observations and facts:
1. Durex sells vibrating penis rings through pharmacies and health and glow units in retail in India which are sex toys. They even classify them as vibrators on their website:
All these are manufactured in china and imported by Reckitt Benckiser India.
Even moods which is a HLL unit (and therefore government) has a similar product in the market called Pleasure Ring - http://www.moodsplanet.com/25-pleasure-rings
Kohinoor also has a similar product.
How does the law classify which sex toys are allowed and which are not? What's the exact definition of sex toy under Indian law?
I understand that obscene imagery or content cannot be used in packaging or marketing but other than that is there a total ban on import and sale of sex toys? If yes, then how are the above companies able to sell the vibrating penis rings?
2. From what I read, the obscenity laws (IPC 292, 293 and 294) are the ones that are quoted as being broken when it comes to importing and sale of sex toys. But in The Calcutta High Court, in the case of Kavita Phumbra v. Commissioner of Customs (Port), Calcutta, where a similar fact situation had arisen, categorically held that import of articles relating to adult use or pertaining to sex cannot be held as obscene merely because of its nature.
In the court’s words,
“In our opinion, an article or instruction suggesting various modes for stimulating the enjoyment of sex, if not expressed in any lurid or filthy language, cannot be branded as obscene. Acquisition of knowledge for enjoyment of sex through various means is not by itself a prohibited activity, provided it is not done through obscene language or pictures. The concerned items are meant for adults and as such their importation for restricted sale to adults only should not be considered to be on the wrong side of the law”
The operative part of the judgment above lies in the fact that the import of such goods can be deemed illegal only if it contains obscene language or pictures. Non-application of this standard would not only be an erroneous reading of the law but will also result in violation of our right to Article 19(g) of the Constitution, which provides the fundamental right to carry on any trade or profession so long as the same comes within the purview of legality.
So, is there is a High Court ruling to this effect and which has not been challenged in the Supreme court, why is sale of sex toys that have no obscene imagery or language or resemblance considered to be illegal?